Lawson wasn't wearing a mouthpiece when he attempted to sack Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer. He said he doesn't know exactly what happened, but he recalled seeing his teeth leave his mouth as he was making the tackle.
"I got around the edge, and I thought I got a sack, but they said the ball was going forward," Lawson said. "When I was bringing him down, I just see my teeth in the air for like two seconds. I was like, 'Holy crap.'"
Lawson appeared to be looking for his teeth after the play, and he was taken to the bench, where athletic trainers surrounded him. A photo by the Cincinnati Enquirer showed a Bengals staff member holding Lawson's teeth in a clear container.
Carl Lawson got his teeth busted, but remained in good spirits. pic.twitter.com/jiFQcABu1D
— Sam Greene (@SGdoesit) October 1, 2017
Lawson's teammates also crowded around him after he went to the bench, staring at his mouth and laughing. Some of them were still laughing about it in the locker room after the game.
Dre Kirkpatrick said he couldn't believe Lawson didn't wear his mouthpiece.
"He was not wearing a mouthpiece. He won't listen," chimed in Kevin Minter, who was standing at the adjacent locker while Lawson was speaking to the media. Minter said players don't get fined for not wearing a mouthpiece.
"But he looks like a fool now," Minter said, adding that he had told Lawson several times to use a mouthpiece.
Lawson cut off Minter's lecture quickly.
"Either way," Lawson said, "it was a freak accident, so mouthpiece or not."
Lawson appeared to be taking the accident well and said he would likely go see a dentist Sunday night when the team got back to Cincinnati.
"I guess it's give and take," Lawson said, shrugging. "I got good pressure. Almost a sack."
He added: "If it had gotten knocked out any other play, I probably would've been more upset, but that was a good rush. I sacrificed my teeth for it."